Osan chapel hosts Pearl S. Buck Christmas Party

Volunteers serve a holiday meal during the Pearl S. Buck Christmas Party at Osan Dec. 4. (Courtesy photo)

Volunteers serve a holiday meal during the Pearl S. Buck Christmas Party at Osan Dec. 4. (Courtesy photo)

Children enjoy a holiday meal during the Pearl S. Buck Christmas Party at Osan Dec. 4. (Courtesy photo)

Children enjoy a holiday meal during the Pearl S. Buck Christmas Party at Osan Dec. 4. (Courtesy photo)

Members of the Protestant Youth of the Chapel perform a short play during the Pearl S. Buck Christmas Party at Osan Dec. 4. (Courtesy photo)

Members of the Protestant Youth of the Chapel perform a short play during the Pearl S. Buck Christmas Party at Osan Dec. 4. (Courtesy photo)

Children participate in games during the Pearl S. Buck Christmas Party at Osan Dec. 4. (Courtesy photo)

Children participate in games during the Pearl S. Buck Christmas Party at Osan Dec. 4. (Courtesy photo)

Santa and Mrs. Claus pay a visit to the Pearl S. Buck Christmas Party at Osan Dec. 4. (Courtesy photo)

Santa and Mrs. Claus pay a visit to the Pearl S. Buck Christmas Party at Osan Dec. 4. (Courtesy photo)

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Members of Team Osan came together to make Christmas come early for children from the Pearl S. Buck Foundation-Korea.

The Osan chapel staff and more than 70 volunteers hosted 50 children, six staff workers and 15 parents during its annual Pearl S. Buck Christmas Party held at the Osan American Middle School here Dec. 4.

"Although this event is hosted by the base chapel each year, it is really a total community effort," said Chaplain (Capt.) Todd Dickman.

Many of the chapel parish members contributed by purchasing gifts and items that were on an "Angel Tree" in the chapel foyer. Parish members bought and donated clothes, toys and toiletries according to needs identified by the Pearl S. Buck staff.

Other base members donated new and used clothes as well. The Osan Base Exchange also donated new clothes for this event and the Osan Commissary donated candy for goodie bags.

"This is an effort to show love and compassion for children who may be struggling with poverty and prejudice," Chaplain Dickman said.

The Pearl S. Buck Foundation-Korea was established to raise the awareness of children in Korea who are ethnically mixed and undergo hardships because of the circumstances of their birth and their lives, according to the Foundation's official website. "Throughout her lifetime, she dedicated her energy and resources in order to combat the injustice of social discrimination and prejudice suffered by mixed-race children," the Web site notes. Pearl S. Buck adopted seven children and had one birth child.

In addition to being treated to an American-style lunch, the children had a chance to watch a short play presented by the Protestant Youth of the Chapel as well as participate in games to win candy and jump in a bouncy castle. While the children were playing, the staff and parents got a chance to shop for clothes - that were donated by the Osan community.

The children also had an early visit from people from the North Pole - Santa and Mrs. Claus. Because of these visitors (and the generosity of the Osan community), each child was able to leave with four gifts - two toys, a toiletry item and a school supply item. According to Chaplain Dickman, the children will also receive book bags or back packs which were not readily available before the event.

"It was a great event and a great chance to show our love and support to the community in a tangible way." Chaplain Dickman added, "It is a great feeling to serve and to know that we can help someone - especially children - during this season."